Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Croydon Labour Leader in a Fluster Over Links to Inside Croydon Attack-Blog

Listen: Labour Party Leader questioned over links to Inside Croydon on Croydon Radio
Croydon Labour leader Tony Newman was left lost for words over his party’s relationship with notorious attack blog Inside Croydon during a live interview on Croydon Radio’s In the Loop show. The controversial site has made regular personal attacks on Conservative members, including false allegations about Croydon Central MP Gavin Barwell, publishing wedding photographs of and repeatedly attacking Croydon’s youngest female Councillor and raising questions over the passport status of a Tory Indian Councillor.

The Inside Croydon site is run by Steven Downes and Labour candidate Andrew Pelling, who was arrested by Police over allegations of assaulting his pregnant wife in 2007. Despite warnings from his Labour colleagues, Labour leader Tony Newman welcomed his friend Mr Pelling into the Labour Party, hailing him as the candidate who can “Put the Fear of God” into people. The unfortunate choice of wording caused much amusement in Conservative circles and stoked fears in the Labour group that Tony Newman had become ‘star struck’ by privately educated Mr Pelling, well-known for his posh accent, charm and ruthless political skills.

Within days of Tony Newman announcing Andrew Pelling as the face of the Croydon Labour campaign for 2014, his ward colleague and campaigner against domestic violence Karen Jewitt was sacked.

A local Tory told the Croydon Gazette, “Tony Newman will never condemn the personal attacks made by his mates at Inside Croydon.  We have already seen the damage this blog has done to our online community and our town’s reputation, just imagine what they could do if they were unleashed in the town hall.”

Listen to In the Loop, hosted by Bieneosa Ebite on Croydon Radio Podcast


  1. Well, here's the thing. When Inside Croydon started it was semi-annonymous. Then eventually Mr Downes was outed by a Croydon Advertiser hack. He then said he'd never been hiding his identity just not taking out advertising on it or something.
    Okay ... well ...we'll, just about buy that.

    Moving on. October 2012... Pelling rubbished the Advertiser (as is usual) and gets into a spat with ex Advertiser hack Sian Hewitt who accuses IC of stealing material from the CA while slagging it off ...do a search on AP libel and you'll find it
    In this exchange Pelling denies that Inside Croydon is his blog
    "@Sian_Hewitt89 another false accusation. @InsideCroydon is not my account. Please stop the lies."
    "@Sian_Hewitt89 @InsideCroydon is not my blog and far from all the stories are written by me. I think that you had better apologise."
    This is, of course, backed by a Downes classic
    "@Sian_Hewitt89 Your lack of coherence is matched only by your inaccuracy @andrewjpelling"

    The thing is - is it inaccurate to call Inside Croydon Downes & Pelling's blog - not just Downes blog?

    Well, since at least January 2012
    Andrew Pelling's twitter profile has read "Contributing Editor" and Steven Downes claims to be "Editor". Well, they clearly then have overlapping responsibilities. However, it is clear that Pelling both writes and "edits" for Inside Croydon. So what is the extent of his contribution? Is it confined to tidying up other articles people have sent in and submitting his own content or is it that larger than that? Is it an honoury title? Has Downes decided to have a co-editor for legal reasons? It is well known Mr Pelling is well off so this might put off vexatious libel claimants. This is all very unusual.

    It's not unusual for people for share power but it's unusual for people to have very similar job titles. For example at Pear Shaped Brian Damage is the CEO and I am the Managing Director. This signifies we have different roles. Mr Damage does all the far future act bookings and I do all the re-bookings into the slots that become available if people pull out for better paid work ...etc... to give one example of labour division. There are responsibility overlaps but it is clear we have differing roles. So what are the responsibility overlaps between Downes and Pelling's jobs. Does Pelling write any of the non-attriubted content?

    Well, he calls himself an editor... so in my view he cannot deny responsibility for the content as a whole. Also while he was just an ordinary party member he's entitled to say whatever he likes pretty much so long as he doesn't tell anyone to vote for someone else or support another candidate. Since June, however, he's been a selected candidate. This means he has taken the whip and there is a clear bond of collective responsibility between Mr Newman and Mr Pelling. Whether he likes it or not Mr Newman must to some extent from that date on take some responsibility for Inside Croydon's output.
    That's just how it works. Of course, as Jack Straw would say, "we are different people" and dont all have identical opinions but in my view if you're a candidate even for the council you are sharing in collective responsibilty.

    There's another question. You claim that "People wonder why @ClareHilley is picked on so much, imagine how much it upsets Lucy Pelling. No way to treat a woman."
    You claim that there was/is a very close relationship between Ms Hilley and Mrs Pelling Number 2. Is this true or an exaggeration? If it is true did Mr Pelling tell the ward selectors when he decided to stand for Waddon? There is nothing in the rules that says a candidate cannot have a certain amount of baggage ...but I think it is a bit cheeky to go to baggage reclaim unless the selectors know that's where you're going. Did they?

  2. As a long term Croydon resident I am so grateful to Inside Croydon. Since discovering Inside Croydon I finally feel connected to the Borough again. It’s not as though our local Tory Councillors or Croydon Council feel any obligation to offer residents any information. For many years Croydon has been subject to embedded journalism, conducive only to the Tory line. The local Guardian newspaper was a good source of information but it mysteriously vanished from our doorsteps perhaps because it was too informative and prompted residents to raise questions. Perish the thought we should try to hold our elected representatives accountable. It's nice to hear another perspective and I have not read one inaccurate fact on Inside Croydon. The articles reinforce with facts what many residents have suspected for many years. We have an overpaid self serving Council run by dimwits who couldn't get a job in the private sector if they offered their services for free and our Councillors appear to have been selected from the local loony bin without an inspirational thought between them. I know first hand how much better Pelling served his constituents. Since the Tories ousted him I have never again voted Conservative, nor shall I. In fact I am jealous of Waddon. How lucky they are to have Pelling willing to represent them. Ottoway, the most obnoxious disinterested MP, has been instrumental in the dumbing down of what was once one of the most desirable corners of Greater London. He has made a living out of horse trading our ward with Central Croydon without a second thought for his constituents. It is notable he himself has never chosen to live among us. He is a detestable, self serving pompous oaf who finds his constituents an inconvenience and distraction from his expenses financed high life. He has no shame and we have no sense re-electing him time and again. I remember his reason for not returning to his constituency during the riots when he was enjoying the high life on his boat in Cowes. Riots? What have they got to do with my constituency? Only with mounting pressure did he drag himself back to Croydon, sorry, I mean Bletchingley. I don’t remember one useful comment or action from him to help the riot ravaged businesses rebuild their trade following the damage and fallout from the riots. Many shops simply never recovered. As for Barwell could he be taken seriously in any other borough? I doubt anyone else would have him. Mr Miller, stop drinking the Tory coolade and open your eyes. You should be thanking Inside Croydon for the hard work and effort it takes to produce such high quality journalism. Help us to find decent Councillors and a worthy MP. We as Croydonites must demand better if we have any hope of shedding our internationally renowned joke status. Part of that process is to be armed with the facts, whatever their source and however distasteful.

  3. "I have not read one inaccurate fact on Inside Croydon" It has been wrong at least once by its own admission. One has to give Downes credit for his determination and sheer quantity of output ...however, while I agree with many of his sentiments and, indeed, have written for him ...I wouldn't go as far as to say he is infallible ...because he is not the Pope. There is no doubt that Inside Croydon has livened up what was a somewhat turgid media before it arrived however it is fair to point out that if it has a Labour Party Candidate on its editorial team it must, by definition, to some extent ... share some degree of collective responsibility with Mr Tony Newman. This was not always the case in the past but now it clearly is the case in the present the Croydon Labour Party cannot simply wash its hands of Mr Downes mistakes. Of course if Mr Downes never makes any mistakes this is not a problem but I suspect that in reality he is just as prone to making mistakes as everybody else. On the whole Inside Croydon is a very good thing but some of its campaigns are less well advised than others... if you ask me. But then it depends what the aim of them is. I find, for example, the printing of Mr Mohan's passport details to be somewhat at odds with the editorial team's very strong views on privacy legislation and fail to see what the purpose of that item was other than to make them both look like a pair of twonks.

  4. I believe that Inside Croydon is an interesting site and gives views on many issues affecting the Croydon community.
    However, there is a rather dark side to it. A hatred of capitalism, that our county is based upon. I do not support the Conservative party but the vitriolic bias against them, is more than a co-incidence. So beware, Mr Downes appears to have extremist ideas and is attempting to widen his views to the residents of Croydon. He may well be a journalist who obviously struggled, but try arguing against any of his articles on the site and you will get both barrels from him. The Downes "Law" is exercised ad nausem.
    Secondly, Mr Pelling has equally struggled in politics. He sat on the Croydon Council for years flying the Conservative flag and once elected to the House of Commons blew it within his own party. Now his lust for power has no allegiance, joining the very opposition he fought so hard against for so long. When the Labour Party have had enough of him, he will fly another flag, of that there is no doubt.
    So take Inside Croydon with a pinch of salt. The people behind it are not perhaps what they appear, and are giving out messages they want us to hear.
    Do the Green Party ever publically announce that "We will work to create a world of global inter-responsibility in which the concept of a "British National" is irrelevant and outdated" Well, it's in their manifesto. What appears to be so, often is not so.